Lakers Need to Learn from Losses!
The Lakers’ blowout loss to the Celtics should highlight the team’s weaknesses and trigger moves to right the ship before the deadline
While you never want to take too much from a single loss, especially one in which the Lakers clearly did not. as head coach Frank Vogel put it, “bring it,” losses often expose matchup weakness that just don’t show up in wins.
That was clearly the case in the Lakers’ 139–107 drubbing by the Celtics in Boston last night. While the Lakers for whatever reason did not show up, the loss clearly highlighted the team’s two most pressing roster problems. Offensively, the Lakers need a playmaking scorer who can create shots for himself and for teammates when LeBron sits. Defensively, they need better wing defenders to guard bigger elite scorers like Tatum and Hayward.
The challenge for Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ front office is how to fix two major roster problems when you only have one trading chip and every team in the league is looking for a playmaking scorer and elite wing defender. Realistically, the Lakers are going to have to get both creative and lucky to solve both problems. They will need some team to trade them what they need for Kyle Kuzma and strike gold in the free agent and buyout markets.
As we get closer to the February 6 trade deadline, it’s become obvious the Lakers need to trade combo forward Kyle Kuzma for either a playmaking scorer like Derrick Rose or an elite wing defender like Robert Covington. Those are two critical roster weaknesses Kuzma can’t fill that could become fatal in the playoffs when the Lakers face the Clippers or Celtics, teams who have already taken advantage of those weakness to defeat the Lakers.
While signing Darren Collision and Andre Iguodala would be the simplest and least costly way for the Lakers to fix their roster problems, trading Kyle Kuzma for Derrick Rose or Robert Covington might have a bigger impact. While Collison has been an elite playmaker and three-point shooter and Iguodala an elite wing defender and all-around player, who knows for sure what they could contribute since neither has played in over six months.
I’m not saying the Lakers should not pursue one or both of Collison or Iguodala if they become available but they need to work them out and make sure they can contribute before waiving a valuable bench player. Truthfully, Collison or Iguodala aren’t likely to have as big an impact on the Lakers’ offense an defense as a proven scorer and playmaker like Rose or a younger wing defender and better three-point shooter like Covington.
Whether the Lakers need a scoring playmaker to fix their offense when LeBron sits or an elite wing defender to help their defense against bigger elite scorers like Tatum, Hayward, and Leonard is a difficult decision. But the Lakers would be wise to continue to pursue a trade for both players and smart to pull the trigger on a deal for whichever one they can land first as well as signing Collison and Iguodala should they look ready to play.
Finally, the Lakers cannot afford to blow an opportunity to win the NBA championship by standing pat, not when competitors will be looking to improve their rosters and already understand their major weaknesses.
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